‘Cici #1-4’ Comic Review
Cici is a four-issue mini series, brought to you by Parker Smart and Spilled Milk, following the discoveries of two clones as they figure out who/what they are and then attempt to fix the mistakes of their creators. We follow the characters of Cici, a duplicate of Cynthia Christiansen who has just woken up, and Max, a copy of a lead researcher within the company. The company is Mile High Technologies; the place is Denver Colorado; the when is a span of two years from 2017-2019. Mile High Technologies is known to the public as a cosmetics developer, but what they are hiding is so much more.
This comic was difficult to start but once you deciphered the intended voice of the author, it was actually an interesting read. The whole premise of creating the clones is to create a set of guinea pigs to test upon with nano-technology. Max is created because his original has cancer and is looking to find a cure with the nanenes. We later discover that Max has actually been cured of his cancer but his original has yet to be able to test on himself. The nanenes are not all used for the same purposes though. Cici is programmed with $6 billion of military grade nanenes and she has a more weaponized approach to her uses. What is really interesting about all of the nanenes is the way they react to the host. They have alchemical properties and turn lead to gold when needed, they shift and create what you need in times of crisis. For Cici, they create a protective, although revealing, armor and later give her weamkguhjhmpons in battle. She uses primarily a staff that seems to appear from thin air but it is actually the nanenes forming into a solid mass with which to kick ass.
The comic itself is distracting at times. The story has an omnipotent narrator who tells the story on occasion using word squares that remind me of the ancient Macintosh computer notes. Along with narration of the story, there is a series of “Tech Notes” for the reader and even an “Editor’s Note” which I found unnecessary and distracting. The narration is heavy in the beginning and then lessens when the plot is strong enough to carry itself. There is a good deal of exposition in the first issue that is segmented and does not make sense. We are introduced to an earlier clone of Cynthia, a man on the run from the MHT cleanup crew, and a scientist who has successfully spliced the DNA of a cat and lizard (it is not cute). This happens in 2017 and 2018 showing the reader that they already have capabilities within the realm of questionable ethics. The story picks up two years later when the clones decide to escape.
The story is supported with interesting artwork and writing; although, at times they didn’t help as much as they took away from the story. There were a few different illustrators on this project and you can see the difference on multiple occasions. Someone was also obsessed with boobs. For what reason does a hospital gown need to be suctioned to the female body and show nipples in every outfit? My favorite costume choice was the hulking “Garbage Man” in a black fishnet shirt with spikes for hair that reminded me of the creepy doll from under Sid’s bed in Toy Story. The dialogue was less than exciting. There seemed to be a realistic flow to everything and then it would be disrupted by something like, “Max feels cold and contracts a case of goose pimples…” (vol. 4, pg 7). The most interesting text for me was actually on the inside of the front cover. When you open each issue, you will find a few words with dictionary definitions that apply to the coming story to help you better understand what the author wants the focus to be on. Each issue has different words and they are picked carefully and well in my opinion. Along with the definitions, a short exposition can be found which is incredibly helpful for the first issue. It explains the kind of company we are dealing with and it’s instantly clear they are not to be trusted.
Overall, I am indifferent to this comic. I thought it was an interesting premise and had some original ideas but the execution was lacking. I never felt an attachment to or sympathy for the characters and am not drawn to knowing the rest of the story. The artwork and writing style of the issues were not enough to keep me coming back either. There was an open end and hope was mentioned but I will not be waiting in anticipation for the next installment.